Welcome to Going Deep! This weekly article will make use of charting data, advanced metrics, and other RotoViz tools — specifically the newly released Passing Game Matchup Rater — to help readers better understand the challenges facing wide receivers and tight ends in the coming week. As my process makes heavy use of the Matchup Rater, I’d highly recommend that you set aside half an hour to watch the tutorial/walkthrough and take a spin through the tool.
Week 4 Matchups
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Chris Olave and the Saints’ WRs draw a favorable matchup with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay allowed opposing WRs to score 105% of their points per game (PPG) in recent weeks and is particularly susceptible to Olave’s alignment tendencies. His matchup rating of 64 is the fourth-highest of all players with 15.0 or more PPG.
Michael Thomas also aligns well with the Buccaneers. Thomas will see coverage from all of Tampa’s corners, but Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean in particular. Davis is allowing 7.2 PPG on direct targets and Dean 6.8. His matchup rating of 58 is favorable as is Rashid Shaheed’s 57.
In 2022, Shaheed converted four of four targets for 75 yards in his lone matchup with Tampa Bay. In recent games, Tampa Bay has faced a tough sample of opposing WRs, including D.J. Moore, Drake London, Justin Jefferson, D.J. Moore, and A.J. Brown. All of whom bested 16.0 PPR. Plus, another WR in all of these games went for 10.0 or more PPR. Look for Thomas or Shaheed to keep this trend going.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin don’t match up as strongly with the Saints. Though New Orleans is allowing opposing WRs to score 114% of PPG, they aren’t surrendering as many points overall. (This is partially driven by the mixture of players the team has faced.) Of course, with Evans averaging 21.6 PPG, even if he were slowed down, he could still have a good game.
And there isn’t a guarantee that he will be slowed down. Evans will see coverage from all members of the New Orleans’ secondary. Since 2021, Evans has allowed 2.0 points per target (PPG). In this same time frame, he has scored 2.4 PPT against the Saints. Of course, there has been some turnover on the team’s roster, but he’s gone four of seven for 69 yards and a touchdown when facing Marshon Lattimore in their last three games. Lattimore will spend a significant amount of time on Evans this weekend.
Godwin will spend most of the game running against Alontae Taylor. Taylor and the rest of New Orleans’ secondary are allowing slot WRs to score just 1.3 PPT in 2023, as opposed to the league average of 1.7. From a PPG perspective, the team hasn’t surrendered high totals to slot WRs either.
Neither team has been overly favorable for opposing TEs, but Juwan Johnson and Jimmy Graham match up nicely with the Buccaneers.